Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship in 2018 and that same night he was already on a plane to Paris to play the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National. The same thing happened to Jim Furyk in 2010, when he won the FedEx Cup in Atlanta and flew straight to Celtic Manor in Wales.
This year is different, with a change to the PGA Tour schedule.
Ryder Cup, schedule
For most American golfers, competition ended at the Tour Championship at East Lake on Aug. 27, so some will spend 33 days before hitting a shot at Marco Simone outside Rome.
US captain Zach Johnson isn't worried about competitive rust. "I'm sure the guys know what they're doing," Johnson said after visiting Rome this past weekend with nine of the 12 Americans on the team (Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele were missing) to test the course that will host the Ryder starting September 29.
"Number two, there's a tournament and some of the guys are playing in Napa, in California. So you can prepare and play if you want. It's an option," he added. Max Homa is the two-time defending champion of the Fortinet Championship that begins this Thursday.
Justin Thomas also plays, mainly because he missed the FedEx Cup playoffs and last competed on August 6. "But you know, it's a long, grueling season, and I think there's something to be said for rest," Johnson said. "There's also something to be said about being home and being with your family and continuing to prepare that way, too.
So that's not really a concern of mine." The European circuit, for its part, holds the iconic BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth this week, the French Open next week and then the Ryder Cup. The 12 Europeans were at the Marco Simone on Monday, and all 12 are playing in Wentworth.
The American team will have four days of training ahead of the opening session of the Ryder on September 29. There were two weeks between the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup in 2021 (Wisconsin) and 2014 (Scotland). The Ryder Cup immediately followed the Tour Championship in 2010 (Wales), 2012 (Chicago) and 2018 (Paris).
Then there was 2008, when there was a week off between the BMW Championship and the Ryder Cup, and the Tour Championship was right after the Ryder. Zach Johnson and assistant captain Stewart Cink are playing in Napa. Asked by Thomas and Homa, they said that we should not give too much importance to the results, whether good or bad.
"The bottom line is that most of the team has played so much golf in July and August that they need a break," Johnson said Tuesday. "His body needs a rest. It's unique that we had a month of rest from the Tour Championship to the Ryder. Resting, I think, is probably better than competing outside of the Tour Championship," the USA captain concluded.
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